Muscat, FEB 10 – Oman’s third flour mill project — conceived as part of the nation’s food security objectives — is due to come into operation at the Port of Sohar in the third quarter of this year, according to a key shareholder in the venture. Construction work on Sohar Flour Mills, which will add around 550 tonnes per day to the nation’s aggregate wheat milling capacity, is nearing completion at a site adjoining the industrial port’s Agro Terminal, said the Chairman of Oman Flour Mills (OFM), a major partner in the project.
Sohar Flour Mills LLC’s construction is progressing smoothly and commercial production is expected to commence by the third quarter of 2018,” Shaikh Salah Hilal al Maawali stated in the Directors’ Report of OFM Group’s financial performance for the six months ended on December 31, 2017.
The state-of-the-art mill, estimated to cost $40 million, is being developed by a partnership of Atyab Investments (a wholly owned subsidiary of Oman Flour Mills) and Essa Al Ghurair Investments (a prominent UAE-based business house). Oman Flour Mills is 51 per cent owned by the Omani government, represented by the new food sector flagship Oman Food Investment Holding (OFIH).
Significantly, the flour mill is part of a larger complex of facilities that will add to a growing network of grain stockpiles being created around the Sultanate in support of the nation’s long-term food security goals. Grain silos offering up to 200,000 tonnes of capacity are proposed to be designed and constructed within this complex.
Civil facilities completed on site include a mill designed for two production lines each of around 550 MT per day. Milling capacity is proposed to be ramped up to 2,000 MT per day in phases in the future. A specialty mill catering to the production of specialty flours is envisioned as well.
When operational, the new flour mill will process grain comprising mainly ‘Medium Hard Wheat’ (MHW) and Hard Wheat (HW). Pending the completion of the grain silo complex, grain stocks will be delivered by trucks from silos in Muscat or the UAE. Aside from the capacity being offered by the grain silos in the future, the new mill also features around 2000 MT of storage capacity.
Milling equipment being installed at site will enable the production of a wide array of flours, including Arabic flour, biscuit flour, Lebanese bread flour, roller flour, white and dark flours, and flours for buns and rolls.
Output from the mill will provide the raw material for a major food cluster planned by Essa Al Ghurair in the adjoining free zone. The cluster will attract investments in a wide range of industrial scale bakery, food processing and related activities.
Coupled with the presence of a major sugar refinery, construction of which is set to commence shortly at the Agro Terminal in the port, the flour mill support the development of a full-fledged Food & Agro Cluster at Sohar Port and Freezone.